SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Days before the WNBA draft, Sancho Lyttle received a good-luck message from Golden State Warriors center Adonal Foyle.
Lyttle is from St. Vincent, West Indies, while Foyle is from nearby Canouan, in the cluster of Caribbean islands called the Grenadines. He was thrilled when the Houston Comets selected the 6-foot-4 Lyttle with the fifth overall pick in April’s draft.
“You have to (be excited),” Foyle said Monday night, arriving just in time for tipoff at Arco Arena to watch Lyttle and the Comets play the Sacramento Monarchs. “She’s the first from St. Vincent. We’re the perfect world couple of basketball.”
The 21-year-old Lyttle, a reserve forward, entered the game averaging 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in her rookie season. After checking in early in the first quarter, Lyttle inbounded the ball right in front of Foyle’s courtside seat, then she hit a short turnaround jumper moments later. Foyle and his friends clapped and smiled.
Lyttle had briefly met Foyle on a couple of occasions, but now a friendship has formed – quite a Caribbean connection.
“He’s the first guy to get out and I’m the first girl,” Lyttle said. “For him to take time out of his day is great.”
Lyttle hears from Foyle through his agent by e-mail each week.
Their hometowns are 15 minutes from each other by plane – or a two-hour boat ride. Both have succeeded in a sport that’s well behind cricket and soccer on the popularity list in their country.
“Girls see it as an opportunity that they can make it,” Lyttle said. “Everybody is trying to get out and make a way for themselves. I didn’t know a lot about women’s basketball back home.”
Lyttle only started playing basketball about five years ago. She also was a track star and thought that would be her road to college. But the University of Houston came calling with a basketball offer before any of the interested schools that wanted her for track.
Baylor star Sophia Young is the next big basketball star from St. Vincent. She led the Lady Bears to the NCAA title in March.
Foyle thinks their country should have a strong basketball future.
“It’s a small island,” he said. “We have to encourage and support each other.”
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